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City of Munich stands by its calculation: open source saves millions

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The City of Munich stands by its November 2012 cost estimates, which concluded that using free and open source software for desktops and office productivity for its 15,500 PCs is over 11 million euro cheaper, compared to the ubiquitous proprietary alternative. "There is no reason to correct this information", the city's IT department comments on 11 February to claims to the contrary.

Writing on its web site, the IT department for the second time refutes claims made in a report for the vendor of the proprietary software. Following furore in the IT trade press over remarks by the author of the unpublished report, alleging that the switch had cost the city millions of euro, the firm in late January made available a summary.

The IT department rejects the vendor's claims. "We've only seen a brief summary, making impossible a sound comparison. Particularly in the area of ​​costs the report contains assumptions and statements by the author that, due to lack of detailed information, can not be verified."

The city's IT department points out several errors in the published summary. The migration to free software did not require a thousand IT workers, that is the total of IT staffers working for the city. The firm also fudged the IT support costs, assuming incorrectly that the German city started out with 12,000 open source desktops. "The number of open source PCs rose gradually over the years, to its current number of over 13,000."

Contrary to the firms claims, the use of open source reduces the costs for computer hardware, writes the IT department. The firm also failed to distinguish the difference between a software migration and normal software maintenance, Munich writes. "They evaluate regular updates of the operating system as migrations."

"The city agrees to the assessment by Prof. Dr. Helmut Krcmar of the Technical University of Munich, that the firms study 'on the basis of the present text ... can not be called scientific'".

More information:
Müchner IT Blog (in German)
München's cost comparison (in German, pdf)
ZD Net news item
H Online news item
Heise news item (in German)
ZD Net news item (in French)
Somos Libres news item (in Spanish)
Webwereld news item (in Dutch)